Award of grants 2021-22 Round 1
Ofcom’s Community Radio Fund Panel (‘the Panel’) met on Wednesday 11 August 2021 to consider applications in the first round of funding for 2021-22.
The Panel considered each application and awarded funding based on the information provided, and with reference to the Community Radio Fund (‘the Fund’) guidance notes. For each grant bid the Panel decided whether to make a full award, a partial award or not to award any funding.
At the meeting:
- 72 applications for grants were considered;
- The total amount of funding requested in these applications was £1,044,517
- 23 applicants were awarded grants which totalled £221,467; and
- 49 applicants were not awarded a grant.
The grants awarded ranged from £2,000 up to £19,760 for individual positions, with an average of £9,629. A summary of the awards is at the end of this statement.
In 2020-21, grants were provided as emergency cash funding to support stations facing severe financial difficulty due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Fund has now returned to supporting the core costs of running Ofcom-licensed community radio stations, as set out in the guidance notes.
The Panel considered that, as much as possible, grants from the Fund should help further a station’s financial stability and future sustainability. Therefore, proposals to promote long-term financial security and posts which could become self-sustaining were favoured by the Panel over applications for other support roles.
Regarding the applications considered in this funding round, the Panel would like to make the following points:
The Panel does not provide individual feedback as a matter of course. Some verbal feedback may be available, should stations wish to contact Ofcom. The Panel would however recommend that stations request feedback if they re-submit proposals for the same post or project in the future.
Read the guidance notes
Several stations submitted applications for emergency cash funding, although the guidance made it clear that such grants would not be considered in this Round.
|Provide all the information requested|
Applicants should supply the requested supporting information, such relevant financial information or a job description if applying for funding for a post. Applicants should refer to the guidance notes for further detail on what should be provided.
|Clarity about a station’s financial position|
Some applications contained financial information which appeared to show large reserves or significant income. It was not always clear that these reserves might consist of large fixed assets such as premises or equipment, or that stations might have included goodwill or volunteer hours in their calculations. Applicants should be aware that this lack of clarity potentially disadvantages their application, as it may give a misleading impression of the state of their finances. The Panel also noted that some stations are part of wider organisations which may be able to offer financial support; some stations were not clear about their relationship to these larger organisations.
Several stations made applications to the Fund for posts which had strong commercial potential, but applicants appeared able to fund these posts from unrestricted reserves. Some applicants told us their policy was to hold large reserves as a contingency. This is a policy matter for those stations but, given that the sector is emerging from a period where commercial revenue has declined, the Panel was more likely to offer funding to those stations who appeared to be less self-sufficient.
In previous rounds the Panel has funded a number of networking events which have proved popular and successful. It is to be commended that these networks are now proliferating, and it is likely that stations will now use a variety of networking methods: virtual and in-person. The Panel hopes that in future such networks will be self-sustaining. It is likely that this round will be the last time networking events will be supported by the Fund.
Repeat funding for posts
The Panel aims to support applications for posts which are intended to become self-sustaining. For this reason, the Panel rarely offers repeat funding, unless applicants provide a compelling rationale. In this Round, the Panel considered a number of such requests and decided to offer short-term grant extensions to give stations the chance to boost their revenue as they emerge from pandemic restrictions. The Panel also noted that a small number of stations claimed, inaccurately, that posts had not previously been funded by the Community Radio Fund. Applicants should be aware that the Panel pays close attention to its previous funding decisions.
A clear focus for posts
The Panel favoured applications for posts whose job descriptions showed focus and were sufficiently resourced to be successful. Unsuccessful applications were those where the post-holder had a huge range of responsibilities including volunteer management, programming and even presenting daily programmes, alongside revenue development. These were often applications for Station Manager posts. The Panel was unlikely to favour such applications because the post-holder was unlikely to devote sufficient time to income generation, therefore making the investment unsustainable. Other unsuccessful applicants wished to create commercial development posts of six hours per week, which appeared unlikely to be sufficient time for the role; others split commercial development duties across several proposed roles, all of which involved general administrative functions.
The Panel also noted that some job descriptions suffered from an excessive use of jargon and that some posts erred towards strategizing rather than raising funds.
*The Panel did fund one Station Manager role this round but applicants should be aware that this was by exception and the job description was entirely related to commercial development.
|Evidence of market assessment|
The Panel was impressed by a number of applications which showed a good deal of thought about potential opportunities for commercial revenue. This was reflected in well-thought-out work plans and achievable targets. Such applications were successful in being awarded funding.
Funding and Business Development Manager
Ambur Community Radio Ltd
North West Student & Youth Community Radio Ltd
Dales Radio Ltd
Erewash Sound Community Interest Company
Sustainability and Project Manager
The NR5 Project
Gateway Community Media CIC
Grants and Funding Co-Ordinator
Hit Mix Radio Ltd
Fundraising and Sustainability Officer
Dorset Community Radio Ltd
Business Development Executive
Jorvik Radio Ltd
Advertising and Show Sponsorship Salesperson
Kane FM Ltd
Legacy 90.1 FM
Peace Full Media Ltd
Fundraising and Project Manager
Meridian FM Radio
UK Community Radio Network meetings and events
The University of Northampton Enterprises Ltd
Business Development Officer
Park Radio Ltd
Development and Fundraising Manager
Platform B Ltd
Business Development Manager
Pulse Community Radio
Pulse Community Radio Ltd
Social Business Development Manager
Riviera FM Ltd
Sustainability and Fundraising Manager
Salford City Radio
Salford Community Radio Ltd
Sales Account Manager
Seahaven FM Broadcasting
Academic Time ‘Buy-out’ and Short-term Project Assistant
Fundraising and Sustainability Manager
Vanny Radio – Community Broadcasters
Business Development Manager
Vectis Radio CIC
*Applicants demonstrated how these roles, which would not ordinarily be funded by the Panel, would help build financial sustainability for the stations concerned.